By Dani Saunders
Due to weather, the Bearcat baseball team faced off against the Loggers of Puget Sound in a three-game series with one game played on Sunday, April 8\, and a doubleheader played Monday, April 9.
On Sunday, Bearcat baseball opened the series with a win against the Loggers. Junior Connor Bailey scored the first run for the Bearcats with a solo homerun in the bottom of the first inning with two outs. Bailey is leading the team in homeruns with eight. Entering the bottom of the second with a 1-0 lead, Willamette seniors Jack Brett, Cameron Igarashi and Perry Van Eckhardt began to let the Loggers have it. Brett sent another homerun over the fence for the Bearcats. After that, Igarashi crushed a double before Van Eckhardt followed up with a bunt that resulted in an error on the Loggers behalf, which scored Igarashi and pushed Van Eckhardt to third base. Senior Aaron Fong hit a single after Van Eckhardt got on base, but was thrown out at second. Van Eckhardt scored on the play, however.
The Loggers attempted to even out their 4-0 deficit in the top of third inning but only ended up scoring two runs, leaving the score at 4-2 with a Bearcat lead. There wasn’t any scoring again until the bottom of the eighth inning when senior Troy Conway, Bailey and sophomore Brenan Natuzzi loaded the bases. They all scored on a hit by Brett. The last run of the of the game was scored by Brett on a hit by Igarashi and the final score of the game was 8-2.
On Monday the Bearcats faced the Loggers again in a doubleheader. The first couple runs of the first game on Monday were scored by Bailey and senior Eric del Prado. Junior pitcher Brandon Nelson and two first year pitchers Jason Snare and Brandon Murillo pitched this game. The third and fourth innings saw a lot of action by the Bearcats as four more runs were tacked on by Conway, del Prado, Bailey, Igarashi, Fong and sophomore Joseph Faudskar. The score of this game was 10-2.
The last game of the three-game series was intense as the Bearcats bounced back from a 6-0 deficit. The Loggers scored five runs in the first inning and there were two Willamette errors. The first run scored by the Bearcats was by Brett on a ground out by junior Kyle Paguio. The comeback, however, began in the fifth inning as two singles were smacked by Faudskar and Conway. Faudskar scored on a ground out by Del Prado and Conway scored on home run hit by Brett.
Another run was scored on a bunt and then on a single by the Bearcats. The score was now 7-6 with a Bearcat lead. Van Eckhardt sent a ball over the fence in the bottom of the seventh inning which put the Bearcats above the Loggers at an 8-6 lead and eventually, win.
Bearcat baseball has one more three-game series until the conference tournament. They will be playing at Lewis and Clark College this weekend. They will be going into this finals series with an overall record of 20-14. With a win, the Bearcats will clinch a way into the NWC conference tournament for the second consecutive season.